American Orthodoxy and church names

Father Orthoduck was interested to read the report below from Father Orthohippo: [EDIT ON 07 FEBRUARY: The report appears to be a summary of a post on Orthodox History. org which you can find if you click here.]

The naming of Orthodox parishes, and their Patrons, in the U.S.A. is much more varied than those of Catholic parishes. Much of the difference is due to varied immigration patterns. Theotokos, however, is emphasized much more in Orthodox theology and spirituality than it is in Catholic teachings, for instance. Saints, though often different Saints,are almost equally popular choices.

There were 1,842 parishes in the SCOBA (STANDING CONFERENCE OF CANONICAL ORTHODOX BISHOPS IN AMERICA) study. No Canadian parishes, or monasteries, or any of the Moscow Patriarchate’s few “representation” parishes are included.

The 10 most common parish names:

  1. St. Nicholas (142 parishes / 7.7%)
  2. St. George (139 / 7.5)
  3. Holy Trinity (136 / 7.4)
  4. Dormition or Assumption or some other name for that feast (77 / 4.2)
  5. St. John the Baptist (69 / 3.7)
  6. Ss. Peter & Paul (66 / 3.6)
  7. St. Michael (63 / 3.4)
  8. Ss. Constantine & Helen (39 / 2.1)
  9. Annunciation (39 / 2.1)
  10. St. Andrew (37 / 2.0)

The top three — Nicholas, George, and Holy Trinity — represent 22.6% of all American Orthodox parishes.

Father Orthoduck admits that when he first saw this list, he immediately thought of the movie, My Big Fat Greek Wedding. How many of you remember the scene when Toula’s relatives were being introduced? Do you remember the father saying that the children’s names were “Nick, Nick, Nick, Nick, and Nicky” among others? Yes, it seems that there is quite a bit of truth to that stereotype. Saint Nicholas is our preferred name and our preferred saint.

So, here is to Saint Nicholas, our beloved saint!


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